11 Longest Prison Sentences in the World

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Any time spent in prison is a long time, but we bring you an amazing list of some of the longest prison sentences in the world. You probably wonder what “longest prison sentence in the world” means exactly, when there is nothing longer than a lifetime sentence. It seemed nonsensical to me as well because life in prison means you will spend the rest of your life behind bars. However, there are practical reasons behind giving consecutive life sentences. Making a sentence consecutive rather than concurrent (served at the same time) minimizes the chances of parole.

Most life sentences have the option of parole after the convicts serve 20 years in prison. The consecutive sentence means that he/she has to do one at the time and even if one gets the parole he cannot be freed because he/she has another lifetime sentence. This way, it is ensured that the prisoner cannot be released in their lifetime because the second sentence comes in. Consecutive lifetime sentences are usually imposed if a person has committed more than one criminal deed, this way, justice is served separately for each one of the victims (murderers and child rapists are usually the ones convicted to a lifetime in prison). Also, in the case that one of the crimes gets overturned on appeal (due to new evidence, witnesses or another person taking the blame) sentences for other crimes will still keep the person behind bars. After hearing about these life-long sentences, you are probably wondering how old is the oldest person in jail? Under the section of “weird news,” Huffington Post published an article about a 108-year old man, Brij Bihari Pandey, who is being released from prison. Currently, he is holding the title of the oldest person in jail. The oldest American inmate is a 100-year-old and the oldest person ever jailed in Britain (and possibly the oldest person ever jailed in the world)  is 101-year old pedophile, Ralph Clark.

Longest Prison Sentences in the World


Once you take a look at the list, you will realize that even the thousands of years that these criminals got might be too little for what they have done. Many wonder what was happening in the minds of these psychopaths, and how is it possible that a human being can commit such hideous crimes. You can get some of the answers by watching documentaries on this topic and there are a lot of documentaries about serial killers (and even interviews with some of them). Also if you want to see what life in prison looks like, take a look at our list of 7 Best Prison Documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Youtube. While prison is a place where the offenders are punished for their crimes, it should also be a correctional facility and these documentaries show the reality behind bars. However, no judicial system is without flaws and sometimes innocent people end up serving long sentences. The longest prison sentence served by an innocent man was the one served by Louis Taylor who spent 42 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Unfortunately, this is not the only case of an innocent man serving a sentence for a crime he did not commit, and you can take a look a look at our list of 10 longest prison sentences served by an innocent man to find out more about innocent people spending a good portion of their lives in prison. Speaking of the longest prison sentence served, we have to mention Paul Geidel Jr. who served 68 years and 245 days in various New York state prisons until he was released at the age of 86.

In order to create this list of 11 longest prison sentences in the world, I checked Insider Monkey’s article on the 6 longest prison sentences ever given.  I also read Independent’s article on this topic and an article published by Express. Reading various articles on longest prison sentences in the world showed that the same names kept popping up, and I compiled the list of longest prison sentences. Sentences are ranked from the “shortest” one to the longest one. Those with most consecutive life sentences are at the top. I made an exception by placing Bobby Joe Long in the first place because he got (in addition to 28 life sentences and 99 years) two death penalties as well. We can safely say that he definitely deserves the number one spot.

Let’s get right to our list of 11 longest prison sentences in the world.

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